Having a good relationship with children is one of the great aspirations that all parents have. Along the way, many of us wonder if that means becoming friends with our children. Do youWe can – or should – be friends with our children?
The idea of pretending to be friends with the children had its beginnings in the framework of the paternity of the 80 and the 90, no doubt as a reaction to that traditional paternity model in which the parents provided and disciplined, that in which the status of authority was very marked and the emotional was not a main course on the table.
The generation of those who were fathers at the end of the last century, He wanted to give what they didn't have, get out of prior corsetation. But is it really positive – and possible – to pretend to be friends with our children?
Maybe it's a matter of names … but I'll talk about that a little later.
Parents, friends … are different roles
People develop throughout life, including throughout the day and hours, different roles: we are women or men, friends, children, parents, employees, buyers …
Roles exist as a way of adapting to the relationship with others and are shaped based on the needs of both the person who exercises that role, and the one who receives or interacts with it.
And, although we are always the same person, we do not act the same before each other: It is not the same to eat with your parents as with your lifelong friends, no matter how much trust and good relationship you have with both. You are not the same when you go to the dentist as a patient as when you attend a client in your business, right?
Roles are necessary, and each one brings important aspects that help us develop in a healthy way.
We need to be able to exercise as children with respect to our parents, to take care of us, to take care of us, to accompany us … And yes, this also means having to take care of them when they are older.
We also need to be able to exercise as friends, being with people that we can talk to with no hesitation, without feeling judged, people with whom to laugh and with whom to count, people who enrich us and who are emotional “home”.
As I said before, what we receive that each of these groups is different, hence they complement each other, that all are positive to develop superbly.
Well, all of this applies to children, teenagers, our children: they need their parents … and their friends, and they need not be the same person.
The role of friends
Friends, especially throughout childhood and adolescence, are fundamental figures for development of the kids.
They are called "equals" because they are at similar evolutionary points, because they share stages of development, and therefore vital experiences, desires, ideas, abilities (cognitive, emotions), interests …
The figure of the friend as an equal is irreplaceable for how rich he is, for how necessary he is.
In India there is adolescence, in addition, as a stage in which the boys are forging their identity, in which they polish and discover who they are, the equals, friends are keys, they learn from them, they take refuge in them.
This happens among other things because part of that development of their identity goes through a certain rejection of "home", to parents: it doesn't have to be something hostile, it can be subtle, it's that "I don't want to go on Sunday because I want to stay with my friends".
In the peer group they feel accepted, understood … regardless of whether they also have a comfortable emotionally at home.
We are your parents, not your friends
Returning to the idea with which this article began, we must not confuse not being your friends with rigid parenting styles or authoritarian, and neither does that pretend to be his friends with having a good relationship, one of trust, with our children.
Children need to know that we are there, rain or shine, and that we have tools that their friends don't have to solve problems, to calm them down, to learn … Because we have a very nice thing: age and experience.
Our children need someone with a flashlight that illuminates them in this complex path that is to grow. They need us to explain the world, to warn them of the dangers … and to pick them up when they fall into them (why not, do not overprotect them).
As part of their development they also need to realize that parents are not superheroes, that we make mistakes, that we screw up, and a lot (that usually happens in adolescence). And that nothing happens.
If we break the line that separates the roles of parents and friends we may be losing some positive aspects of the role of parents … and we can even make them go through it.
Because you can tell a friend how bad you are having it at work, but don't do it with your children, at least not with that detail, with the same depth, because they have no emotional capacity to manage adult problems, and what you can get is to worry him and to have the feeling that mom is wrong.
Eg a study done On the relationship between mothers and daughters after a divorce, she found that the adolescents showed emotional distress and stress when their mothers had made them share their problems at work, personal, etc.
We are there for them, that's the important thing
It is important to have a relationship of trust: and for this we have to carve it from a very young age.
They have to know that they can talk to us about everything, that we are not going to judge them and that they can count on us, that we are there for them, to teach them and to learn together.
It is important to accompany them in their development, without unduly interfering, without directing their lives to the millimeter, but without being mere spectators.
The semantic nuance
And if this we have commented in a way it seems to be friends, if you live it that way and you understand it, well, hey, go ahead, nothing happens, they are just words.
But I insist, it is not the same to have total confidence and share a thousand things with “being friends with your child”, especially in the adult-child direction: remember what I said before overloading them with the problems and emotions of adults, it is not fair for them.
If your son tells you his concerns, his fears, his desires, bravo for both of you, you're doing great, but you are not friends, you are not an equal, you are his father, his mother, and you are great.
The important thing is that we provide what they need at all levels, that we are available to them, that we be affectionate, that we love them, that we teach them, that we pick them up when they fall, that we laugh with them and let's cry when you have to cry… That's being parents, and it's really great.